A while back I came across the Pillow Heat Instagram and was immediately drawn in by all the colourful old Vans models, most of which are instantly recognisable, though some I was too young – or too ignorant – to remember.
Wanting to find out how someone had made collecting, sharing and re-selling vintage Vans their livelihood, I reached out to Henry who was kind enough to agree to an interview. As you’ll see his passion for the shoes, knowledge of the brand and everything that goes with it is just as impressive as his collection of Vans products.
Interview: Matt Broadley | Portrait and internal shop shots: James North
When did your obsession with Vans start?
Maybe 1999/00, I was a late bloomer. I flirted with skating late 1980’s and mid 1990’s but I wasn’t wearing Vans. The release of Dogtown & Z Boys however was the point of no return for me.
Do you remember what your first pair were?
Like many in the 1980’s my first pair was a black white checkerboard Slip-On. They were made in China, the seeds of USA-made Vans had only just been planted at this stage by an American buddy. When those seeds sprouted I immediately sold them on eBay and found the same but made in USA! I’ve never looked back since.
When did you decide to start the shop?
In 2006 I moved to London from Sydney. I had already been playing with the idea to sell in some capacity, a market stall, eBay shop, e-commerce, whatever. By 2008 I was looking for a location and things fell into place in 2009.